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Sunday, November 13, 2011

World IFRC & WDR Report 2011- Focus on hunger and malnutrition

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) has two globally recognized emblems - the Red Cross and the Red Crescent - set on a white background within a red rectangle. These are symbols of assistance in times of conflict or disaster, and have worldwide recognition in national and international law under the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

Source: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
World Disasters Report (WDR). 

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“ Hunger and malnutrition are the worst enemies of humankind. They deny to children – even at birth – an opportunity for the full expression of their innate genetic potential for physical and mental development. Freedom from hunger is the first requisite for sustainable human security. This will depend upon the productivity, profitability and sustainability of agriculture, as this edition of the World Disasters Report points out. Therefore, if food and nutrition policies go wrong, nothing else will have a chance to go right."

– M. S. Swaminathan, Member of Parliament, India; Chairman, M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation
The livelihoods of an estimated 12 million people are currently under threat in the Horn of Africa and nearly 4 million people in Somalia alone are in need of life-saving assistance. Although the world produces more than enough food to feed everyone, in 2011 almost 1 billion people will go hungry. This event is the UK launch of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies' (IFRC) annual World Disasters Report (WDR). This year the report focuses on global issues of hunger and malnutrition.

This is not only felt in headline-making famines, but also in the alarming levels of malnutrition among the world’s poorest. The causes of hunger and malnutrition, both acute and chronic, are complex, involving global food markets, agricultural production, environmental degradation, poor infrastructure and governance, and poverty.

Mother of eight treks 50km to get help in southern Somalia (Source: Marcus Prior/WFP, IRIN - responding to hunger and malnutrition, the humanitarian system has tended to focus on providing food aid to address immediate acute hunger, rather than support livelihoods in order to promote self-sufficiency and to build resilience in the longer term. The challenge is how to ensure the humanitarian system – agencies, governments and donors – can better respond to early warning signs and address food insecurity before lives and livelihoods are severely threatened. better respond to both chronic and acute food insecurity.
This year’s World Disasters Report focuses on the growing crisis of hunger and malnutrition. Smallholder farmers who produce half the world’s food are among the almost 1 billion people who go to bed hungry every night. Millions of children suffer the irreversible effects of under nutrition. Increasing food insecurity weakens people’s resilience to disasters and disease, and people everywhere are experiencing the increasing volatility of food prices.

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